BendBend Police posing as minors arrest 28 in four-month online sting

Bend Police posing as minors arrest 28 in four-month online sting

Bend Police posing as minors arrest 28 in four-month online sting

Bend Police Patch

Bend Police say a four-month undercover sting to combat human trafficking, sex work and luring of minors has resulted in the arrest of 28 people. Police say they are looking for more potential victims of the suspects.

Police say the operation lasted from May 19 through August 23.

Bend Police say officers posted ads online. They then posed as minors in text messages and phone calls.

Police say more than 200 phone numbers responded to the ads. Many of them cut off the communication when they learned they were talking to a minor. Police said the officers involved clearly identified themselves as being underage.

Those who were arrested agreed to meet and sometimes brought drugs and alcohol. They were arrested and booked at the Deschutes County Jail.

FROM 2019: Sex trafficking in Central Oregon: Victims hope to stop the cycle

Here are the names of the 20 people arrested as part of the sting and the charges they are facing. All but one are from Central Oregon.

  • Mathieu Ackah, 46-year-old Oxnard, Calif., resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct
  • Christopher Arroway, 30-year-old Bend resident: purchasing sex with a minor, patronizing a prostitute, attempted rape III (arrest #2)
  • Gage Bergeron, 31-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, attempted rape III, delivery of a controlled substance to a minor (marijuana)
  • David Burnham, 73-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III
  • Forrest Dodge, 28-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, attempted sodomy III, purchasing sex with a minor
  • Cody Fortune, 32-year-old Bend resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, attempted rape III
  • Ryan Frye, 23-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, purchasing sex with a minor
  • Rene Hernandez, 28-year-old Bend resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, attempted sodomy III, purchasing sex with a minor, parole violation, endangering the welfare of a minor
  • Joshua Huddleston, 45-year-old Bend resident: attempted rape III, attempted delivery of a controlled substance to a minor (marijuana)
  • James Kapsalis, 26-year-old Redmond resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, attempted rape III, delivery of marijuana to a minor
  • Miles Leffler, 40-year-old Sisters resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, purchasing sex with a minor
  • Devin Linker, 34-year-old Redmond resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct, online sexual corruption of a child I, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III, patronizing a prostitute
  • Ian McCord, 38-year-old Prineville resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, attempted sodomy III, attempted rape III
  • Jorge Beltran Mendoza, 29-year-old Redmond resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct, online sexual corruption of a child I, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted sodomy III, patronizing a prostitute
  • Waynerd Montgomery, 47-year-old Redmond resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III, escape III, criminal mischief III, resisting arrest
  • Jacob Schneider, 36-year-old Bend resident: luring a minor for sexual conduct, online sexual corruption of a child I, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III, patronizing a prostitute
  • Connor Strupith, 22-year-old Redmond resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, attempted furnishing liquor to a minor
  • Isaac Testerman, 41-year-old Bend resident: purchasing sex with a minor, patronizing a prostitute, attempted rape III
  • Eduardo Vega-Ruiz, 22-year-old Madras resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, patronizing a prostitute, attempted sodomy III, purchasing sex with a minor, attempted rape III, escape III, attempt to elude (felony), attempted assault on a public safety officer, reckless driving
  • Dylan Zook, 20-year-old La Pine resident: online sexual corruption of a child I, luring a minor for sexual conduct, patronizing a prostitute, attempted sodomy III, purchasing sex with a minor

Bend Police say the investigation also resulted in multiple people coming forward and identifying themselves as victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the suspects. Police are asking anyone who is a potential victim of the suspects or knows someone who is. Call the non-emergency dispatch number at 541-693-6911.

Police say not one of the 200+ people who responded to the ads ever reached out police to report potential child sex trafficking when they learned a minor was involved.

Additionally, eight people were arrested for attempting to patronize adult sex workers, a Class A misdemeanor. They were cited and released.

  • Benjamin Adams, 43-year-old Las Vegas, Nev., resident: patronizing a prostitute
  • Christopher Arroway, 30-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute (arrest #1) 
  • Dennis Dewitt, 71-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute 
  • Zachary Douglas, 33-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute 
  • Caleb Gump, 24-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute 
  • Thomas Myers, 38-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute 
  • Tenzin Norbu Sherpa, 37-year-old Bend resident: patronizing a prostitute
  • Casey Vitale, 36-year-old Lebanon resident: patronizing a prostitute

“Bend Police want our community to know we are proactively investigating these crimes,” the department said in a statement. “We will continue to conduct projects like this in the future. This outreach will also let potential predators know our community is vigilant. Our goal is to identify traffickers and prevent this activity from taking place in our community. During the operation, Bend Police saw a significant decrease for demand in sex work in our community, and by extension, a decrease in sex workers operating in our community.”

Police are also urging parents, guardians and caregivers to be vigilant and stay involved in their child’s habits online. That includes knowing which apps the children are using and use parental controls when possible. Also, remind children to only chat online with people they know and make sure their accounts are private.

“There are people who target vulnerable youth via online apps and other internet sources, and we have to work together to keep our children safe,” Bend Police said.

Watch our stories below from 2019 tackling the issue of sex trafficking in Central Oregon.

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